Monday, September 2, 2013

Dandelions, Pig Weed and Cats

These are three of the things I'm allergic to. Not to mention birch, alder, aspen, spruce and grass. All things Alaska has in spades. My reaction to the allergy tests were some of the worst the doctor had ever seen. I was told weekly allergy shots should take care of the plants and trees (and we know how that turned out!). But the cats? No cure for that aside from getting rid of them.

I've had the cats now for nine years. I don't think I'm going to dump them because of some post-nasal drip. Besides, how can I be allergic to this?


Nine years ago, on a dark and stormy night, two kittens followed my brother-in-law home. Two kittens, brother and sister, who had been abandoned, looking like a pair of Holstein cows. A "matched set" my sister told me. You can have them both, she said excitedly. I had been entertaining the idea of adopting a cat. An older cat perhaps. One who couldn't be around other animals or kids. Two things absent from my home. But then the two black and whites showed up. I said, "I'll take one."

We tried. Tried hard to find a home for the other cat but to no avail. I drove to my sister's house stopping along the way at Petco to pick up food and a water bowl. I bought a dish for two. At my sister's house my nephews introduced me to the kittens. The boy cat was all belly and rolled around, his four feet perpetually in the air.  The girl was sweet, purring the moment I reached my hand towards her. My nephew Sam asked me which one I thought I might want. Oh, my heart! How could I choose one knowing the other would go to the shelter?

How could I choose only one knowing that my nephew Thomas had withheld from holding either cat all week because he didn't want to get attached?

"I'll take two!" I said. Sam and Thomas beamed.

We loaded them into the cat carrier dubbed the "Pet Taxi" and I took them home. They settled in immediately, learning that as long as they purred and offered the equivalent of a "kitty kiss", their spot on my bed was guaranteed. Hence, the allergies.

Oh sure, in the beginning it was all sweet kitten kisses, neck cuddles and little kitty head butts that break your heart because they're "too cute". Fast forward 5 years and I'm standing in the vets office 2 hours late leaving for my kayaking vacation to the Channel Islands. All because Roly-Poly has an infected eye.

$350 later I have lab results attesting to to the fact that Roly-Poly the Tom cat, who was neutered at the age of 4 months, is free of STDs -- no gonorrhea, chlamydia, or herpes. And his eye infection was merely the result of scratch from a cat fight. I could have bought a tube of Neosporin for $4.99.

Despite living in a cloud of cat hair and the 5am wake-up calls, I think I'll keep 'em. How can I resist this?


Even when naughty, they're cute.

Or, giving me the stink eye.